The last few minutes of a conference game have become Kryptonite for Auburn.
The Tigers trailed Mississippi State by one with 4:51 minutes left, four with 1:04 left, four with 34 seconds left and four with 15 seconds left, but couldn’t come up with the big shot or crucial stop, losing 82-74 Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum
Auburn, which fell to 8-8 overall and 0-5 in the SEC, has lost 14 straight conference games.
“The guys fought and we had an opportunity to get back in it,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “We made it a one possession game, but just made too many mental errors down the stretch.”
Auburn lost the game at the free throw line and from the bench. The Tigers were outscored 31-12 from the free throw line and an abysmal 28-0 off the bench.
“You can’t win when you get no production off your bench,” Barbee said.
Junior guard KT Harrell led Auburn with 24 points, making 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Senior forward Allen Payne had his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen had a career-high 17 points.
“Tahj payed well. I thought he was really good,” Barbee said.
Mississippi State, which improved to 13-5 overall and 3-2 in the SEC, was led by junior forward Roquez Johnson with 18 points. Senior forward Colin Borchert had 17, sophomore guard Fred Thomas 14 and junior guard Trivante Bloodman 13 for the Bulldogs.
Auburn returns to action Saturday at Arkansas. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. CT and the game will be carried on FSN.
“We go to one of the toughest places to play in the league at Arkansas,” Barbee said. “The guys fought, we had a chance, obviously disappointed, but we’ve got to get ready for that one.”